Where will Erin Burnett Land on CNN?

Today’s news from TVNewser that Ali Velshi will get a 5 am show on CNN in addition to his American Morning duties noted that the 1-3 shift will continue to be handled by rotating substitute anchors.

Why do I consider that insignificant news somewhat significant? Because, it raises the possibility, however slightly, that Erin Burnett is not headed to that slot. So, for the sake of argument – and giving me something to do – let’s speculate upon where Burnett is destined to wind up.

When CNN announced Burnett’s hire, a quick survey of its programming landscape pointed strongly to the current vacancy at 1pm as the odds on favorite destination if for no other reason than because it was vacant and had been vacant for some time. Then Page Six came out with its story that John King USA was going to be jettisoned for Burnett. CNN shot that down the same day.

Unfortunately for CNN their “conclusive” statement does not settle the matter and it can blame itself for that. The incredibly complicated pretzel-like PR contortions the network made during the whole Piers Morgan/Larry King saga last year has effectively poisoned the well for the foreseeable future in regards to any statements the network makes concerning future talent/programming decisions. I just can’t take what they say at face value completely, not to the degree I once did back before it allowed the Morgan/King PR Charlie Foxtrot to spin out of control. I mean, you could parse CNN’s statement rebutting Page Six in such a manner that Page Six still winds up being right. Burnett could replace King’s show if King’s show moved for example…like moved to 8pm where another CNN show is struggling and is oft ridiculed as of late given the recent political sex scandals because of the host’s past.

Normally networks have time slots in mind for talent when they hire them…especially when they’re a high profile hire like Burnett was. The fact that CNN “claims”, as of last week’s Page Six story, to not have a time slot decided for Burnett is interesting…interesting bordering on suspicious. Why has it not decided? The options are limited. There’s 1pm-3pm, 3pm-5pm (which would necessitate moving Brooke Baldwin ahead two hours), 7pm, and 8pm. That’s basically it.
It’s not like CNN has tons of options here.

Of the four I listed the 3-5 seems the most illogical but may be where she ultimately lands. This assumes that CNN was dead serious about keeping King at 7pm and is still smarting too much from the beating it took with Campbell Brown at 8 to even consider doing what would almost certainly amount to a full on sequel at the same hour with Burnett. The reason 3-5 makes more sense than plugging Burnett in at 1 is one of programming consistency. Having CNN Newsroom sandwich a branded Burnett show, and you have to figure CNN is going to brand her show, doesn’t make a lot of sense from a flow perspective. So I think CNN would opt to shift Baldwin to 1pm and plug Burnett in at 3 if if was looking to put Burnett on during dayside.

But maybe CNN will pull a rabbit out of its hat and do something totally unexpected. I sense a couple of poll questions coming…

The second one is a variation on the first one but the differences are significant. On the first I ask where you think CNN will put her. The second I’m asking where you think CNN should put her. Answers to the two may not be the same as a result. But I’m curious to see how the differences shake out, if at all.

17 Responses to “Where will Erin Burnett Land on CNN?”

  1. This post begs for a Reader’s Digest version.

  2. laura l Says:

    I’ll have my people read it, then comment later.

  3. joeremi Says:

    I think it’s something about some business babe that was hot, like, five years ago..and some other guy who’s also a business person on some network that was hot, like, twenty years ago. Or something.

  4. terance Says:

    The initial buzz of Erin debuting on CNN will wear off real quick. And as I said before, it makes no sense to take on a big money high profile anchor and use her in daytime. Unless its part of a morning show revamp, since FNC’s proven people will tune in at that hour. But, paring her with Ali Velshi would make me think twice about tuning in.

    I voted for 7pm on both polls. Perhaps if she excels they can move her to 8pm. However, her new format (whether at 7pm or 8pm) definitely can’t be like Zahn/Brown’s 8pm offering, or its DOA.

  5. The really big takeaway in all this is…

    My readers are too @#!%!$% lazy to vote twice…

  6. laura l Says:

    Or occasionally even once.

  7. joeremi Says:

    I tried to vote more than once, but some government douchebag asked me for ID.

  8. There. I @#!%!$% voted twice.

  9. Grandpa Dave Says:

    Of course I voted twice. That’s a tradition here in Texas.

  10. spdavid Says:

    I think it all comes down to what CNN is really trying to do with Erin.1-3 essentially replicates her CNBC show which might draw her already created audience there.3-5 has her on air when the markets close and despite the “more than business” angle to her hire she was made the main business personality for CNN going forward and 3-5 would also be a change of pace from news to wolf blitzer and news.I really don’t see Erin on at 7 or 8.I don’t think she’s “ready for prime time” yet.7 and 8 are about politics and opinion,neither of which she has any real experience doing or the “known quantity” element in that arena enough to draw an audience.My money is on either 1-3 or 3-5 and I think it could go either way.

  11. stevemg Says:

    I tried to vote more than once, but some government douchebag asked me for ID.

    Vote Republican and that’ll only happen to black folk.

  12. I think she should partner with Ali Velshi on AM; but, sadly, I don’t think that’s going to happen. She works best with someone to play off and using her solo will result in a copy of the Brooke Baldwin show; as they have similar on air personalities. She would also could work out with Spitzer or Cooper but I don’t see either of those matches happening either.

    No one could survive working with John King, he’s hopeless. Blitzer is also way to stiff to make use of a co-host. heck, his on air conversations with Cafferty are painful to watch.

    My guess is she will replace JKUSA and he will return to reporting.

  13. CNN is in a tough spot with King if they did decide to end his show. They can’t make him White House Correspondent. Been there done that and Ed Henry is now the guy over there. Can’t make him a Senior Washington Correspondent. That would be a painful demotion. Can’t give him Sunday mornings. They gave that to Candy Crowley.

    If they end King’s show, I think it probably will also mark the end of King’s tenure at CNN and he’ll look for an exit deal. There would be other opportunities at other channels/networks.

  14. Josh Kaib Says:

    I could see King’s show moving up an hour to make room for a show fronted by Burnett. Just to save face, I don’t think CNN would cancel the show. The DC bureau was mad enough when Rich Sanchez took one of Wolf Blitzer’s hours, I can’t imagine how they would react to losing one of their shows completely.

    I still think a dayside slot is more likely though. CNN clearly wants to bring out the big guns during the day, which is why Suzanne Malveaux got the 11-1 slot. I could see Burnett getting the 3-5 slot and Brooke moving forward to the slot vacated by Velshi.

    By the way, what does Velshi’s return to NYC mean for his attempt to sell his man cave? I remember reading about his struggles to sell the place. Perhaps he just moved back in.

  15. The DC bureau was mad enough when Rich Sanchez took one of Wolf Blitzer’s hours, I can’t imagine how they would react to losing one of their shows completely.

    Notice how they never got that hour back when Sanchez got fired? That says more about The Situation Room than it does about Sanchez.

    BTW, if they moved King’s show up an hour to 6pm, what happens with Situation Room? They cut off another hour or move it back an hour? I seriously doubt CNN would put King at 8pm. He’d get creamed…

  16. CNN clearly wants to bring out the big guns during the day, which is why Suzanne Malveaux got the 11-1 slot.

    Not trying to knock Malveaux here but are you seriously calling the back up White House Correspondent to Ed Henry a “big gun”? I wouldn’t. And they’ve done nothing to tailor that shift to Malveaux. You bring in a big gun…you tailor that hour or hours to make it a star vehicle. The Dayside news format is not a star vehicle maker really.

    In fact I’ll go further and state that none of CNN’s dayside anchors are “big guns”. Same thing for MSNBC’s dayside anchors (and yes, that goes for Jansing too…no matter how good I think she is). Dayside is not for the big guns. It’s for the interchangeable cogs. Granted, not all cogs are created equal (which is why I’m big on Jansing). But the whole point of dayside news is to make the news the star.

    FNC does things a bit differently. Shepard Smith is a big gun but his Studio B is formatted differently from the 9-1 block. Megyn Kelly is not a big gun (no matter what FNC says to the contrary) but her show is a star vehicle tailored to her. Unlike Happening Now or America’s Newsroom which are closer to Jansing & Co. and News Nation in as much as the shows are branded and there are some dedicated format tweaks but the anchor is not really the star.

  17. […] I called it. When CNN announced Burnett’s hire, a quick survey of its programming landscape pointed strongly […]

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